PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – A 23-year-old citizen-soldier from the East Valley is dead after collapsing during a physical fitness test at Tempe Town Lake earlier this week.
According to the Arizona National Guard, U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Robert Dwayne Bryant Jr. went down Tuesday morning during the running portion of the test, which he was taking in preparation for the Basic Officer Leader Course. A medic was there when it happened. Bryant was taken to Tempe St. Luke's Hospital, where he died the next morning. The cause of the young man's death is under investigation.
In addition to being a member of the Guard assigned to the 850th Military Police Battalion at Papago Park Military Reservation, Bryant also was a Phoenix police officer. The president of the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association (PLEA) sent Arizona's Family a brief statement Thursday morning.
The members of PLEA are saddened at the loss of our Brother. DJ Bryant was a young man of outstanding character who had dedicated his life to service of his country and community. We pray that his family finds strength during this time of loss.
Bryant's commander described him as "a well-respected officer" and "a very motivated soldier."
"Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Lieutenant Bryant," said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Joseph R. Baldwin, Land Component Commander of the Arizona Army National Guard. "It is always painful to lose one of our own because we are not just Soldiers, but members of the community, so when we hurt the whole community hurts."
Bryant first enlisted when he was 17 years old, serving as an MP for six years. He joined the Phoenix Police Department in 2017. He received his commission just last year through the Reserve Officer Training Course at Arizona State University. He also received the Minuteman scholarship through the National Guard.
Bryant was awarded the Army Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Army Service Ribbon.